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Genworth Free Community Day at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens means free admission on Labor Day

If you’ve got the day off you could spend it a Lewis Ginter

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Labor Day honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made. For most it means a day off to say good-bye to summer and hello to school for the kids. It also presents a chance to head over to Lewis Ginter and enjoy all that the gardens have to offer.

There is always a ton going on at the gardens.  There’s Butterflies LIVE! (through Oct. 9) and the award-winning exhibit  Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® Bricks  (through September 18). There is even a crossing of the two events with a Lego butterfly. Kids tend to love the Water Play area in the Children’s Garden and are likely to play whether they are in the appropriate clothing or not, so be prepared.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Genworth are pleased to announce Genworth Free Community Day at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden on Labor Day, Monday, September 5. All visitors to the Garden receive free admission 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Events

All Aboard, the Train Tradition Returns to Science Museum of Virginia

The three-day event features six different train displays with various scaled locomotives riding through intricate landscapes and miniature cities.

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It wouldn’t be the weekend after Thanksgiving in Richmond without train-themed fun at the Science Museum of Virginia’s Model Railroad Show, presented by Dominion Energy. While the event will look different this year due to capacity limitations, the Museum is excited to host the model train club displays for the 43rd year November 27 through 29.

The three-day event features six different train displays with various scaled locomotives riding through intricate landscapes and miniature cities. Created by HO, O and N-scale model train enthusiasts from across Virginia, guests will also enjoy seeing the classic scenes in the displays of clubs that have participated in previous Model Railroad Shows for decades.

“The Model Railroad Show is a nearly half century Virginia holiday tradition,” said Chief Wonder Officer Richard Conti. “It was important to us to keep the tradition going, but to do so in the safest manner possible. Every change we’ve made to this year’s event is designed to help manage guest flow to create a safe and enjoyable event for families to create lasting memories.”

One of the most important changes for this year’s event is that all guests – including Museum members – must purchase tickets in advance through the website or by calling guest services. No walk-up tickets will be sold at the Museum. Tickets go on sale on the Museum’s website today, Nov. 10.

To manage the flow of guests, the Museum is offering timed entry both to the Museum and to the Model Railroad Show with a limited number of tickets available in each timeslot. When purchasing a ticket, guests will select their Museum entry time. Entry to the Model Railroad Show, held in the Dewey Gottwald Center, will be 30 minutes after guests arrive at the Museum.

The Museum will offer member-only hours each day from 8 – 9:15 a.m.; general public entry times will begin at 9:30 a.m. daily. The last ticket time slot will be 3:45 p.m. each day to allow guests time to experience the Model Railroad Show before the Museum closes at 5 p.m.

The Museum has adjusted operating procedures, including requiring masks, so guests are encouraged to review the reopening policies on the Museum’s website at www.smv.org/welcome before their visit. There is no reentry to the space housing the Model Railroad Show and/or the Museum all three days of the event.

While at the Museum during Model Railroad Show weekend, guests can take in free planetarium shows offered in the Dome at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day. Guests can also help with a collaborative railroad scene and make a conductor hat in The Forge. Museum educators will offer steam engine demos in various places around the building, and this year’s event also includes a display of historical Broad Street Station items from the Museum’s collection. In addition to the themed activities, the Museum’s “Speed,” “Boost!” and “Giant Insects” exhibits will all be open for guests to explore.

The Museum is grateful for Dominion Energy’s continued support of the Model Railroad Show as they return as presenting sponsor for the third year.

“We are especially pleased to sponsor this event again this year,” said Hunter A. Applewhite, president of the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. “The expansive display of model trains will bring some much-needed joy and fun to our community as 2020 comes to a close.”

Model Railroad Show activities are free with Museum admission. Museum members and children two and under are admitted free. The Museum offers discounts for military, teachers and EBT cardholders. Qualifying guests should call 804.864.1400 for details about reserving those tickets with the discount code.

Planetarium shows in the Dome are free of charge all weekend, and seating is first come, first served. Each showing is limited to 50 people, and there is no food or drink allowed in the Dome. The Museum’s gift shop will be open each day of the show, but the café and concessions will be closed.

 

Check out more of our photos from last year’s show.

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American Girl Doll and Richmond EMT to serve as grand marshal of Dominion Energy Christmas Parade

Like most other Richmond traditions, the event will be virtual this year.

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April O’Quinn, Richmond native and Richmond Ambulance Authority EMT turned American Girl Doll, will serve as the official Grand Marshal for the 37th Annual Dominion Energy Christmas Parade. The Christmas Parade will be a televised-only event exclusively on WTVR CBS6 on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to noon and rebroadcast on Christmas Day.

“April O’Quinn has such an inspiring story and embodies what it means to be a true hero as a frontline worker,” said Parade Director Beth Karrer. “We are so grateful to April and all of the Richmond Ambulance Authority crew for their work in the Richmond community.”

April O’Quinn was one of five national winners of the American Girl “Heroes With Heart” contest earlier this year. The company, which makes the popular American Girl Dolls, held the contest to honor frontline workers during the time of COVID-19.

Lacey O’Quinn, of Texas, nominated her aunt, telling American Girl about April’s fearless willingness to put her health on the line to serve others. April contracted COVID-19 back in March and had to take more than a month off from work. As a grand prize, the winners have since received a custom doll made in their likeness, with a spotlight feature on the American Girl website and an American Girl gift card.

“We at the Richmond Ambulance Authority are so excited for April and her niece Lacey. We’re thankful American Girl held a contest to recognize our frontline heroes and are thrilled to have one of our employees represent EMS,” said RAA CEO Chip Decker.

The Christmas Parade broadcast will include all-new performances from favorite local and regional entertainment groups, community stories, and a special competition showcasing homemade float entries. The broadcast will also feature “best of” clips from over the years including floats, balloons, and marching bands. Photos of the Christmas Parade and can be found here.

As a way to give families and kids an opportunity to actively participate in this year’s online experience, the Christmas Parade is excited to kick off its first-ever Chick-fil-A Family Float Building Contest! Kids of all ages are encouraged to build a miniature float and enter the contest for a chance to to be featured in the Christmas Parade Special and win prizes, thanks to Chick-fil-A Willow Lawn. For float guidelines and submission details, click here.

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Events

Hello Kitty Cafe Truck returns to Short Pump Town Center this Saturday

From 10:00 AM until 8:00 PM, the popular, all-pink cafe on wheels will be parked at Short Pump Town Center at the Main Entrance by Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn.

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The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is rolling back into Richmond this Saturday, March 14th.

From 10:00 AM until 8:00 PM, the popular, all-pink cafe on wheels will be parked at Short Pump Town Center at the Main Entrance by Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn.

Fans of Hello Kitty can look forward to new exclusive goodies and limited-edition collectibles, including Sprinkle Mugs; Enamel Pin Sets (2 styles); Madeleine Sets; Hello Kitty Cafe Canvas Totes. Other best-selling items include stainless steel thermal bottles, sprinkle T-shirts, 5-piece macaron box sets and a cafe lunchbox with confetti popcorn.

The truck accepts only credit/debit card payments (no cash).

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